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Resources   /   Glossary

Virtual AP

Accounts payable (AP) software becomes necessary sooner or later for nearly every kind of business. While smaller firms may be able to manage accounts payable without software, growing companies may find it challenging to scale without more efficient AP solutions. A virtual AP system is one such solution that can make it easier and more cost-effective to manage bill payments to vendors and suppliers.

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Virtual accounts payable software is a cloud-based application that enables you to pay bills online automatically instead of manually sending physical checks in the mail. In addition, you can use a virtual app for AP to convert invoices into digital format and process them automatically. This can help streamline your organization’s accounts payable process considerably, saving both time and money.

One notable virtual application example is AvidXchange. AvidXchange’s automated bill payment and invoice management system. The AvidXchange suite offers software solutions for automatically managing the entire accounts payable process from the moment the invoice is received to when payment is successfully delivered.

Some of the significant benefits of implementing virtual accounts payable software include:

  • Better visibility into the status of each invoice in the system.
  • Secure access to invoices from any device with an internet connection.
  • Custom workflows and payment methods that are tailored to each vendor or supplier’s preference.
  • Improved scalability of accounts payable processes.
  • More efficient processing and lower processing costs.

Let’s explore the different functions of accounts payable automation further and break down the benefits of virtual AP software in more detail.

AP Automation Solutions

Accounts payable automation (also called AP automation) can replace a manual invoice processing and bill payment system. There are many advantages to switching to automated accounts payable software. AP automation solutions can reduce accounts payable expenses considerably while simultaneously improving productivity.

If you currently use a manual accounts payable process at your company, you may not even realize how many inefficiencies could be prevented by using automated software instead. Without software, accounts payable staff are required to complete the process using physical paper products. Opening mail, sorting invoices by hand, and waiting for payments to travel through the mail are tasks that take up valuable time. By using automation instead, you can free your accounts payable staff to work on higher-value tasks that can’t be automated.

When you purchase accounts payable solutions from AP software companies, you’ll likely also find that reporting becomes much easier as well. Keeping a digital record of all invoices makes it much easier to comply with audits on short-term notice.

AP automation companies like AvidXchange can provide comprehensive accounts payable software built for your organization’s specific industry. AvidXchange also integrates seamlessly with many of the most widely-used accounting systems. This means the automation is compatible with whatever workflow your accounts payable team is already used to, which can help speed up implementation.

AP Software

Accounts payable software (AP software) is any software that your accounts payable team uses to manage invoices and deliver payments to suppliers or vendors. Some of the best accounts payable software can fully automate this process for you, introducing a variety of significant benefits. AP automation software should be a serious consideration for companies that need to process invoices more efficiently or companies that expect they will outgrow what their accounts payable team can handle manually.

Processing invoices is easy with virtual accounts payable software. The invoices will pass through a few simple steps as they’re processed by the AP software:

  1. First, the invoice is converted from paper to digital format.
  2. Then, the software reads and categorizes the invoice, after which it’s assigned to the correct workflow.
  3. Next, the automation routes the invoice to the appropriate business leader to be approved.
  4. After the invoice has been approved, the payment is automatically sent to the vendor or supplier, and the invoice is digitally filed in your accounting system.

All these steps happen automatically when your organization receives an invoice, which can save your accounts payable team a huge amount of time. The resulting increase in productivity is often well worth the initial investment into the virtual accounts payable software.

Best Virtual AP Software

Accounts payable software can help your accounts payable team become more efficient, but there is more than one kind of accounts payable software, and not all kinds may include the features your business needs. When you’re choosing automated bill pay software, it’s important to consider the size of your business and the number of suppliers or vendors to whom you’re paying bills. This will help you choose the kind of software that works well for your business’s specific needs.

Regardless of what kind of industry your business operates in, there are a few important highlights that practically all the best virtual AP software has in common. Some of these essential benefits include:

Control – Invoice automation software like AvidXchange can be customized to match your existing workflows, so you maintain full control of your data.

Scalability – Any company that plans to keep growing needs its automated bill pay software to be able to scale with its supplier list.
Efficiency – The best virtual AP software makes it faster, easier, and less expensive for your accounts payable team to process invoices and pay bills.

Accessibility – Accounts payable software that’s cloud-based makes it possible to access records anytime, anywhere, which adds visibility and speeds up reporting and auditing.

Virtual Bill Pay Software

Virtual bill pay software can greatly simplify the steps involved when your accounts payable team receives a bill. Pay online options like AvidXchange make it faster and cheaper to process payments without sacrificing any control or accuracy. With bill pay automation, you can simply let the software process the payment automatically according to the specified workflow. Here are some of the specific benefits of using virtual bill pay software like AvidXchange:

Reduced Costs

A manual accounts payable system may not seem like a particularly expensive process, but there are actually a lot of associated costs that can add up over time; for example, the cost of all the necessary paper supplies like envelopes and stamps, and of course the cost of the labor required to manually process invoices one by one. By automating your accounts payable process wherever it’s possible to do so, you can eliminate most of these unnecessary costs and free AP team members to focus on tasks that can’t be automated.

Improved Scalability

Imagine what would happen if the number of suppliers and vendors you need to pay suddenly doubled. If you currently rely on a manual accounts payable system, it’s possible your team may not be able to keep up.

While it’s not likely your supplier and/or vendor list will actually double overnight, you need to be prepared for the fact that if your business is going to grow, you will eventually need to scale your accounts payable capabilities. Investing in accounts payable automation is a great way to do this because software is nearly infinitely scalable. The best online bill pay app can continue to function with speed and accuracy even when processing extremely high volumes of invoices.

Best Virtual Invoice Software

A virtual invoice is an invoice that’s been converted to digital format. It’s just like a regular invoice, except that you can view it online. For example, you can use AvidXchange to digitize your invoices and then view them online by logging into your account. You can see all the information you’d be able to see on a regular invoice, like the vendor, the due date, and the invoice amount.

Virtual invoices have quite a few benefits over traditional invoices. The best accounts payable software uses automation that requires invoices to be digital in order to be processed by the system. Once the invoices are digitized, the top invoice software can use automation to move the invoices through the appropriate workflow quickly and efficiently. Then, the digital invoice can be approved and virtually filed in the system, where it’s easily accessible. The best accounts payable software uses an automated process like this to improve productivity and organization in the accounts payable department.

Online Invoices Login

Virtual invoices can introduce quite a few benefits to an organization’s accounts payable department. However, it’s natural to also wonder about some of the drawbacks of online invoices. Login issues are a common worry anytime you upgrade to a new kind of software. However, most online invoice apps are built to be very easy to access.

AvidXchange is a cloud-based platform that enables 24/7 remote access. This means you can log in to the software anytime you need to, even if you aren’t in the office. An online system of record for invoices also makes it much easier to create reports or complete audits. When you keep all your accounts payable records in a central, cloud-based hub, you have all the information you need to compile reports at a moment’s notice. Switching from a manual system of record keeping to an automated, cloud-based accounts payable system can improve the organization in your accounts payable department and make it much easier to access invoices.

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